“Ultimately, I want to argue that opacity should be at the center when it comes to doing decolonial and abolitionist work together. In the section that follows, I offer some conceptual detail of Glissant’s notion of opacity. I propose that, in keeping opacity at the center of work simultaneously devoted to decolonization and abolition, we let go of the expectation for transparent clarity of terms, for mutual, “once and for all” understanding, and for a knowing of our various experiences of colonial violence modeled in what Glissant will name “onto-thinking.” As both an epistemological and ethical framework, opacity will orient me toward a knowing (and ultimately, an acting-with) that unfolds despite being unable to completely conceptualize (as in, capture under a concept) the experience(s) of communities other than my own. This kind of framework joins what Eve Tuck and K.W. Yang offer in their 2012 work as an ethics of incommensurability, a comportment through which “solidarity lie[s] in what is incommensurable rather than what is common across these efforts” toward moving beyond settler colonialism. What I hope to add on to Tuck and Yang’s intervention are the ways in which this incommensurability captures not only the decolonial singularity they powerfully outline, but a singularity to the radical demand of abolitionism alongside and as well.”

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Black lives matter

When Heads Bang Together: Creolizing and Indigenous Identities in the Americas

PUNCTA, Journal of Critical Phenomenology

In her 2019 book, The Black Shoals, Tiffany Lethabo King warns that “settler colonial discourse structures the ways that people think about and simultaneously forget . . . that Black and Native death are intimately connected in the Western Hemisphere” (2019, xiii). This warning is similar in spirit to Jody Byrd’s call to decenter “the vertical interactions of colonizer and colonized” and recenter “the horizontal struggles among people with competing claims to historical oppressions” (2011, xxxiv). What happens to the lifeways of creolization when brought under the scrutiny of such analyses? To ask this question differently, how might creolization, as a theory of Afro-diasporic experiences shaped in histories of chattel slavery, displacement and migration, working against structures of anti-blackness, approach a vigilance for what Lorraine Le Camp (1998) names the “terranullism” —a Doctrine of Discovery world-orientation that reads land to be colonized as either vacant or all but vacated of civilized human communities—that grounds much of settler colonial discourse?

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